I have a question for all you RB's because you give good advice, So my question is.... Is a 2012 fuel ex 9 worth the 1000 clams more than the 2012 fuel ex 8? What parts are worth the Dollars/Best value/ if I look to upgrade in the future on the ex 8? And yes I am utterly convinced on the Trek Fuel Ex.
I didn't want to start a new thread but I could find no other post relavent to my question. All mountain rules :)
Is it worth it? Yes and no. The extra money is mainly going into the Fork (Kashima coating, lock out, Tapered steerer etc) and the upgrade of the drive train (XT and XTR vs SLX and XT) but the wheels are better on the Ex9 too.
To be honest there is a noticeable difference between XTR and XT but SLX and XT are pretty comparable IMO so you can save money in that regard and stick with the SLX. The rear suspension although not identical is pretty close so you could get away with the lower spec there too. The frames are identical so if you're looking to upgrade later if you grab the Ex 8 you certainly can.
I think it boils down to what you can afford and what you can justify. If you can pony up the extra cash and dont mind spending it do it. You'll be paying for higher performance gear that in theory will make the riding more fun and components that should last longer. However if money is tight or you arent sure you really need all the bells and whistles the Ex8 is a great bike with a strong spec.
I think for an extra grand the general upgrade from SLX to XT would be good value for money.
From my experience I guess that you'll get longer lifespan out of the XT components, and replacement parts will be available for higher specced items (XT) for longer than they will for lower specced items (SLX).
This is not taking into account performance improvement of XT over SLX, which you will probably find some, if not all, of the XT components will perform better than their XT counterparts.
I've got a 2010 EX8 that I've updated with a Revelation u-turn fork, wider bars (710 vs 650), 65 mm stem, Reverb seat post and 2x9 SLX cranks (22, 36). I love it, it's now a 'ride everywhere' machine (if it wasn't before). I've ridden it at Rotorua, Mt Buller, loads of local trails and in cross country and all mountain/super D races.
Personally I don't see anything on the 9 that will buy you $1000 more riding fun than on the 8. The RP2 DRCV shock is fine, in fact it's fantastic.